After suffering a traumatic brain injury, the family of six-year-old Oscar chose Samoa as a destination for his rehabilitation.
Anna Hiley from Auckland, New Zealand, visited Samoa about five years ago with her husband and this time she has come with her children, Sienna, 8, and Oscar.
Anna told the Dear Tourist team that after 15 months of trying to help Oscar recover at their home, they opted to travel to Samoa because they were not seeing any signs of improvement.
Samoa is the perfect place for Oscar because according to Anna, it is a peaceful and relaxing country.
“We wanted to give his brain a good opportunity to recover, so we wanted to simplify life and started this week with home schooling for both of them,” Anna shared.
Compared to her last visit, this time she will stay until December.
Samoa has always attracted Anna’s attention compared to the Pacific Islands she’s visited.
“The people are friendly, the culture is nice and the weather too. It isn’t too far from home. Fiji is more commercial, I actually like that Samoa is a bit more basic and less touristy.”
Anna said that the tourism industry’s initiatives of developing Samoa are good, but she reckons that for the past five years, Samoa has seen a growing number of external influences.
“Just the amount of plastic stuff available is a bit sad to me because we try to avoid plastic as much as we can, which is really hard here. I think one thing which can be improved is the rubbish. Everything is so close to the water, so everything on the ground could get into the ocean,” she explained.
“Last time we were here everybody was so warm and welcoming. Just the path of life is so different here, we just really enjoyed the weather and the temperature is nice.”
“All the sea life around here is fascinating, the octopus and fish everywhere and I can just sit and the kids have their goggles on and they can see the fish, which is really cool.”
She noted changes after the tsunami that struck Samoa in 2009.
“The churches have been beautifully reprinted; rebuilt and a lot of the houses and properties haven’t been in a good condition.”
“All the plants, greenery and trees are growing again now. So I have been quite pleasantly surprised driving through the villages and to come here. For me it seems really different much more improved than last time,” she shared.
Oscar added that they simplify like swimming in the pool every day.
“I find quite a lot of happiness here and I hope it helps Oscar, but so far so good. Just lovely and happy people on the island, I think we made the right decision to come here,” Anna said.